This one’s more for the big bosses, but some of you might need a little reminder that you were all newbie tradies once! It can be hella annoying having someone new getting under your feet and asking annoying questions, but there’s actually a lot to learn from the apprentice. Don’t believe us? Keep reading!
1. Be straight up
It’s important that from day dot, your apprentice knows how it goes in the team and on the job site. Although it can take up a bit of your time, it’s important to let them know what your expectations are, and yes, go through the health and safety stuff. You also need to set some ground rules on the first day, including when they need to be at work, what they need to bring/wear, and who they need to report to.
2. Buddy up
As you all know, it can be super daunting when you first start as a tradie – so many things to remember and so many different blokes barking at you to get out of the way. Pair your apprentice up with someone who’s got great experience, but who’s also pretty patient and fair. It’s good for both your newbie and your mentor, as it gives the newbie someone to learn from and someone to look out for them, and it gives the mentor a chance to show that they know what they’re doing and pass on their wisdom to others.
The apprentice is not just there to be another pair of hands, they’re also there to learn. For them to really get the most out of the role (and for you to grow the best tradesperson), they need to be kept in the loop. They may not understand everything you tell them, but they will soon, and it’s important to help them understand why they’re doing what they’re doing – that way, they’ll likely put in more effort and be a bit more careful of their work.
4. Learn from them
As we said before, there’s actually a lot of things you can learn from your apprentice, and not just how to post a video on Facebook. Although they are very tech-savvy and can introduce ways of digitising things to make life easier for you, they’re also a great insight into how your team and your company is doing. Often when we’re on the inside, we think everything is sweet, but that might not be the case. Fresh eyes are great for picking up any hidden tensions, and such a fresh perspective is also good for pointing out how things might be done better.
5. Get social
It’s not all about the work – you and the team (including the newbie) need to have a bit of fun every now and then. It’s a great way for the team to get to know your apprentice and for your apprentice to feel as though they fit in. They might have some mad skills you never knew about that you can put to use, plus you and the team will get to know them as a person rather than as ‘the newbie’. And welcome drinks give everyone a good excuse to have a few beersies after tools-down right?